My GPS signaled me that the route I had chosen was slowed by a traffic snarl and pointed me to a new route, a detour. The technology informed me that even though the route was longer I would arrive sooner at my destination. Ever run into a situation that caused you to take a detour from the plan in life that you had carefully planned? Who hasn’t, right?
We can trust the leading of the Holy Spirit when cancer is announced, changing everything; when a spouse walks out, crushing our heart; when our job evaporates, when our child makes a terrible choice, when a whole new opportunity is offered that will up end life.
I know a thing or two about detours! Some were the result of stupid, foolish, or even choices I made. But, from a lifetime of walking with the Lord I can tell you that our amazing and Mighty God wove life together in such a way that the detours became new opportunities for deeper intimacy with Him and/or developing character in me. At the time of these detours, I thought – “Oh no, this can’t be happening. I must regain control.”
Time has taught me to listen carefully and look for God at work in the detour. If that all sounds like a naïve optimism to you, please consider that it is real faith that is active and focused on the Lord’s ability. He promises that He is constantly active to “cause everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28, NLT)
Faith is not at all like a resignation to fate
or even passive acceptance of life.
Faith anticipates God’s good!
After David was crowned king in ancient Israel, the perpetual enemy of God’s people, the Philistines, immediately sent an army to bring him down. They thought they could defeat him while his kingdom was young, before he had the chance to consolidate his strength. But, consistent with his faith, David knew enough not to react to his foes. Instead, he made the choice to respond to his God! “So David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?” The Lord answered him, “Go, for I will surely hand the Philistines over to you.” (2 Samuel 5:19, NIV)
Even then, David didn’t just rush off to do battle. He continued to be under orders, led by the Lord. The first skirmish brought a defeat of his enemies, but they regrouped and came back for more. Once more he prayed for guidance. This time God asked him to wait for a strange signal. “When you hear a sound like marching feet in the tops of the balsam trees, attack! That will be the signal that the Lord is moving ahead of you to strike down the Philistines.” (2 Samuel 5:24, NLT)
Listen for the breeze blowing through the tree tops; the sound of a troop moving through a grove of trees, quietly, yet causing rustling of leaves.
Ancient rabbinic tradition suggests that David was waiting to hear the angels assembling above his army. While that is an intriguing thought, the point is that David was to act at God’s direction, in faith, not on his own time or in his own way. David was totally obedient, waiting until he heard the promised sound. He went out courageously and won a decisive victory under God’s guidance.
So, are you listening for the leading of the Holy Spirit in your life? Has a detour made you feel fearful or wonder about the future? He leads, let Him. Pray actively, with profound faith, listening for the quiet whisper of the Spirit of God Who will direct your way. It’s not all that easy to put all of our plans in secondary position to His plan. We love to feel ‘in control,’ to be on the course we planned.
There is a tumult going on around us – a thousand voices telling us to turn here, go there, do this, don’t do that – so that we must withdraw to contemplation of the words of the Lord, to hear the rustling of the breeze in the treetops that signals His plan for us.
Here is a word from the Word for your meditation today. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn your back on evil. Then you will gain renewed health and vitality.” (Proverbs 3:5-8, NLT)
There’s a wind a-blowin’
|All across the land
A fragrant breeze of heaven
Blowin’ once again
Don’t know where it comes from
Don’t know where it goes
But let it blow over me
Oh sweet wind
Come and blow over me
There’s a rain a-pourin’
Showers from above
Mercy drops are comin’
Mercy drops of love
Turn your face to heaven
Let the water pour
Well let it pour over me
Oh sweet rain
Come and pour over me
There’s a fire burnin’
Fallin’ from the sky
Awesome tongues of fire
Consuming you and I
Can you feel it burnin’
Burn the sacrifice
Well let it burn over me
Oh sweet fire
Come and burn over me
© 1994 Mercy / Vineyard Publishing Vineyard Songs Canada
ION Publishing (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.)
CCLI License No. 810055